The past and the future of video gaming faced off at the New York City Arcade 2015 show Downtown on June 18, where joystick jockeys had the chance to road-test both the classic arcade-style games of yesteryear and the virtual reality technology set to take the industry by storm in years to come.
On one side of New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering’s Game Center at MetroTech, traditionalists smashed buttons on cabinet games that harkened back to 8-bit titles like “Asteroids” and the original “Super Mario Bros.” Across the room, a separate crowd tested out the video games of tomorrow, strapping on goggles to immerse themselves in “Tron”-like worlds.
One player, who got his first taste of virtual reality at the expo, said he was firmly on team new-school.
“Since it’s my first contact with virtual reality, I think it’s a pretty big deal,” said Dan Brandao. “I don’t think you can get this from anywhere else.”
The Game Center, which is part of the Tisch School of the Arts’ game design school, offers classes on game development and design, and is also a hub for gaming nights, competitions, and conferences.
Last Thursday’s show featured 85 games from up-and-coming local independent developers, and creators said the event was as much about showing off their latest works as hobnobbing with other movers and shakers in the scene. One first-time developer said he was blown away to see how many great games are being made in the city right now.
“We’re just really psyched to start finding out about the indie-game development community here in New York,” said Paul Hiam, a student at the Tisch School of the Arts, who attended the event to show off a custom arcade cabinet that he designed with two friends.